Update #10: Design for Manufacturability Challenges

Hey backers!

We received a lot of feedback from you since announcing our new design and we’re glad that everyone loves the new design. Kudos to our designers for the great work!
 Since finalizing the design in late December, we’ve been working closely with our mechanical design team and factory to make the new design manufacturable. This is a process called design for manufacturability (DFM) and includes a number of things: splitting apart the components and adding snap fits, through holes and clearances to make sure they can be assembled in a logical procedure; selecting the right materials that are durable yet cost =effective; and making changes to features such as curvatures and patterns so that they can be manufactured with machines, to name a few.

In this process we’ve ran into a few challenges that we wanted to share with you:

How to connect the circuit boards
 Vigo contains two circuit boards on either end of the device: the motherboard that contains the Bluetooth headset components such as speakers and microphone, and the sensor board that contains the infrared sensor that detects movement around the eyes. Because we decided to make the neck bendable, a decision we faced was to decide how to wire up the two boards together: using wires, or with a flexible circuit board (FPC).

We ended up choosing to use a flexible circuit board rather than wires, as wires could become loose and eventually snap with repeated bending. Using flexible boards would add to the cost of production but also make assembly easier, as the board could be produced in one piece. Here’s the circuit board we printed to test with:

How to bend the neck
 The next challenge we faced was deciding how to make the neck bendable as well as stay in place. We explored a number of options: using a gooseneck tube like those found on the neck of lamps, inserting a metal wire and wrapping the FPC around it, or laying a metal wire beneath the FPC that would hold in place once bended. We eventually chose the third method for maximum durability. Here’s the cross-sectional view of the neck that the mechanical engineers sent us to illustrate this:

In order to make the above change, the thickness of the neck had to be increased, to allow for the wire to be submerged. Otherwise the wire could pop out of the neck, which we wouldn’t want:

Making the required changes to the neck thickness
Working with the factory’s mechanical engineering team to analyze changes

As you can see, making a product manufacturable requires a lot of detailed work. In our initial campaign we grossly underestimated the amount of work required to produce Vigo, which has led to Vigo still being in the making, and we apologize for the wait. We’re working with our factory to determine an updated timeline on when Vigo will be ready and will notify you as soon as we receive word. We’re hard at work day and night to get Vigo to you as soon as possible, and we’d like to thank you for the continued support. We’ll continue to send frequent updates to let you know our progress!

The Vigo Team

Originally published at wearvigo.com.

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